Responding to Recession..(Obama less progressive than Clinton and Edwards)
by MollieBradford, Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:30:03 AM EST
Here is Krugman's piece on the various stimulus packages of the candidates running for president. I have made some edits to cut out talk of the republicans and also to allow for fair use.
The conclusion is that Obama really is less progressive than the others when it comes to domestic policy.
My opinion is that a lot of people on line are fooling themselves. Obama is the black Joe Lieberman but in a much more attractive package... and one who speaks without whining. That's my opinion, take it or leave it. It's not going to change.
By Paul Krugman
Published: January 14, 2008
Suddenly, the economic consensus seems to be that the implosion of the housing market will indeed push the U.S. economy into a recession, and that it's quite possible that we're already in one. As a result, over the next few weeks we'll be hearing a lot about plans for economic stimulus.
Since this is an election year, the debate over how to stimulate the economy is inevitably tied up with politics. And here's a modest suggestion for political reporters. Instead of trying to divine the candidates' characters by scrutinizing their tone of voice and facial expressions, why not pay attention to what they say about economic policy?
In fact, recent statements by the candidates and their surrogates about the economy are quite revealing.
On the Democratic side, John Edwards, although never the front-runner, has been driving his party's policy agenda. He's done it again on economic stimulus: last month, before the economic consensus turned as negative as it now has, he proposed a stimulus package including aid to unemployed workers, aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, public investment in alternative energy, and other measures.
Last week Hillary Clinton offered a broadly similar but somewhat larger proposal. (It also includes aid to families having trouble paying heating bills, which seems like a clever way to put cash in the hands of people likely to spend it.) The Edwards and Clinton proposals both contain provisions for bigger stimulus if the economy worsens.
And you have to say that Mrs. Clinton seems comfortable with and knowledgeable about economic policy. I'm sure the Hillary-haters will find some reason that's a bad thing, but there's something to be said for presidents who know what they're talking about.
The Obama campaign's initial response to the latest wave of bad economic news was, I'm sorry to say, disreputable: Mr. Obama's top economic adviser claimed that the long-term tax-cut plan the candidate announced months ago is just what we need to keep the slump from "morphing into a drastic decline in consumer spending." Hmm: claiming that the candidate is all-seeing, and that a tax cut originally proposed for other reasons is also a recession-fighting measure -- doesn't that sound familiar?
Anyway, on Sunday Mr. Obama came out with a real stimulus plan. As was the case with his health care plan, which fell short of universal coverage, his stimulus proposal is similar to those of the other Democratic candidates, but tilted to the right.
For example, the Obama plan appears to contain none of the alternative energy initiatives that are in both the Edwards and Clinton proposals, and emphasizes across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments. I know that Mr. Obama's supporters hate to hear this, but he really is less progressive than his rivals on matters of domestic policy.
In short, the stimulus debate offers a pretty good portrait of the men and woman who would be president. And I haven't said a word about their hairstyles.
Krugman is also making the point that Clinton knows what she is talking about and that is quite a compliment coming from him. The bold print is mine.
I wanted to make a strong point of that paragraph because being a policy wonk and knowing what she is talking about has always been one of the things I like about Clinton. It has always been one of the things I like about Gore too. In that area they are very similar. That can not be denied.
I also happen to think they are both honest, very kind and caring people who really do care about making America and the world a better place.
Here is the link to the Krugman article. You may have to sign in. It's free.(Ps... I encourage someone to take this topic and do a diary at dkos... or reprint this with my permission and your own commentary)